Why Your Company Needs More Collaboration

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What distinguishes companies that have built advanced digital capabilities? The ability to collaborate. 

MIT Sloan Management Review’s research finds that a focus on collaboration — both within organizations and with external partners and stakeholders — is central to how digitally advanced companies create business value and establish competitive advantage. These companies recognize that digital transformation blurs — and sometimes obliterates — traditional organizational boundaries and demands a focus on cooperation and collaboration that is unprecedented for most enterprises.

The broad implications of this finding are evident in three separate research projects MIT Sloan Management Review conducted over the past three years:

  1. A recent survey-based research report on digital business trends called, “Achieving Digital Maturity,” produced in partnership with Deloitte Digital.
  2. A separate survey-based research project focused on the internet of things (IoT).
  3. A case study project exploring data-driven organizations.

While the benefits of collaboration are clear, so too is the reality that many organizations still have a long way to go in making collaboration the priority it needs to be.  Less than half of the respondents to our 2016 digital business survey agreed or strongly agreed that “our organization is increasingly organized around cross-functional project teams, not necessarily functions and divisions, to implement digital business priorities.”

Three primary needs were identified:

  1. More Cross-Functional Collaboration;
  2. Better Collaboration with Customers; and
  3. Adapting to Increased Collaboration.

Let’s examine each of these needs beginning with more cross-functional collaboration.

Based on a global survey of more than 3,500 managers and executives, the third annual report on digital business from MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte’s team found that the most digitally advanced companies, deploying digital technologies and capabilities to improve processes, engaging talent across the organization, and driving new value-generating business models, are far more likely to perform cross-functional collaboration.  More than 70 percent of these...

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